A couple of weeks ago my friend Kinley Winchester began his +/-30 hour trip to Erbil, Iraq, back to his family, as they continue living out their life in Christ in the predominately Islamic region of Kurdistan.  They have lived there for 3½ of the last 4 years connected to the Classical School of the Medes and Servant Group International.

While he and his family are gone, I take care of their affairs on their behalf.  In legal terms, I have durable power of attorney.  So I’m a steward, their steward.

Although steward isn’t used often in more recent Bible translations, it sticks in my mind as an important word.  It’s not a huge deal and it’s not tons of work but being given this responsibility of being a manager, administrator, gopher, grass mower, plumber, helper, servant has informed my ideas of being a steward of the resources placed in my care.

1.  I lose identity

I still remember one of the first bank deposits I made on their behalf.  I’m reminded because it still happens from time to time.  You know the process.  Drive up to the window.  Obligatory greetings.  Deposit through the tube.  Transaction complete.  But then…”Can I help you with anything else Mr. Winchester”.

Mr. Winchester?  That’s not my name, but “they” think it is.  I’ve wanted to correct the teller because I know MY name and I want people to know MY name.  For the bank teller, I’m Mr. Winchester, and in this case the bank teller doesn’t know any differently, and it doesn’t matter.

I can get too concerned that people know my name and my work rather than the One whose business I represent.

2.  I have this responsibility because I’m known

Over the last 18 years Kinley and I have served together in multiple places from church to the Appalachian Trail and places in between.  He knows me well.  He knows my personality, my quirks, my fears, my inabilities, my heart.

Over these 4 years there have been a couple of memorable transactions that I haven’t done so well.  I dropped the ball.  I didn’t follow through.  I failed.  It cost them.

Are there other people who could have this responsibility?  You betcha.  Could they do it better than me?  Most likely.  Kinley knows me far better than most…and yet he still trusts me.

So I have this stewardship not because I am more or less capable compared to anyone else.  I have this stewardship because I am known.

3.  Not my resources

I can access accounts just like I do my own.  I could sell their house if I wanted.  I did sell their car…with their permission, of course.

I care for the house, communicate with potential and actual renters, make them aware of decisions that they need to make based on mail that comes in for them.  These resources that I have been asked to oversee are not mine to use how I want.  While I can do what I want, I don’t, because they’re not my resources.

From time to time, I’m asked what I think or what I would do and can freely give my opinion.  And I have opinions.  Some are helpful.

When it comes right down to it, what matters most is what they want me to do and not what I want to do.

Yep, there are some parallels to my relationship with Christ.

At this point, I want to be a good and faithful servant with the resources allowed to pass through my fingers.  How are you doing at being a steward?